Earliest Internet Marketing Success Stories
Earliest Internet Marketing Success Stories
Though it seems very speedy in this year 2021 that everything is happening with the snap of fingers, back then it was very tough to boot a system in five minutes. But the early birds of technology went through a lot of experiments and they were great experiences to the back then-garage room firms to today’s Multi-Billion dollar companies. Let’s take a look at the earliest Internet marketing success stories.
Marketing Success 1: Hotmail Signature Trick
One of the earliest internet marketing success stories is Hotmail. Hotmail launched in July 1996 as one of the first free webmail services available to the public. It garnered a respectable but hardly groundbreaking 500,000 users by
December 1996. Then, a small and brilliant idea made the service’s users increase exponentially: Hotmail added a short description and link to the signature of every email sent over its network, encouraging readers to sign up for their own free account.
The signature was attached to emails that went out, sent by users at no extra cost to themselves or the company, and the message benefitted from the perception of peer recommendation – if a colleague or friend was using and promoting the service, it must be worthwhile. A year later, in December 1997, Hotmail had 8.5 million subscribers, and it continued to grow, surpassing 12 million in 1998. Considering that there were an estimated 70 million web users in December 1997, Hotmail held well over 10% of the market. The company was sold to Microsoft eighteen months after launch for $400 million. This remains one of the simplest, smartest, and most effective marketing strategies of the early web.
Marketing Success 2: Google Conquers Search
By the time Google entered the search market in 1998, online search engines were already well known, generally had very loyal followers, and had apparently saturated the market. However, Google used a clever marketing strategy. It separated itself from portal sites like Yahoo by emphasizing its focus on search with a minimalist interface that contained little more than its logo and a search box. The company touted its revolutionary new search algorithm and famously stated that it was not “evil”. Putting this into practice, it made a point of listening to customer feedback,
improving the product constantly, and adding new features and tools. News about the new search engine spread mostly by word of mouth.
The turning point for the company came in 2000 when Google launched its AdWords service. A means by which marketers could bid on certain search keywords so that their adverts appeared on search results when a user entered those keywords. As the AdWords were auctioned off, Google’s revenue shot through the roof. The simple and innovative system matched web searchers and advertised content more accurately than ever before, saving marketers money and time. AdWords is still Google’s highest-earning product.
Marketing Success 3: Blair Witch Leverages Viral Marketing
The well-known horror movie, The Blair Witch Project, was promoted almost exclusively online and combined a variety of media and approaches to do so. The movie itself, released in 1999, was filmed on a small budget and was never intended for wide mainstream release. However, the creators had the idea of promoting their film to potential investors online and built a website for it. Through word of mouth facilitated by online channels, the site’s popularity grew and started attracting new visitors.
Its biggest appeal was the wealth of interactive content related to the legend and the film. Both of which were entering the public consciousness. This included not only videos and sounds from the film, but also fabricated news stories, photos, biographies, and accounts of the imagined events. All of which tied in to form a coherent and fascinating narrative. Have a look at the page on www.blairwitch.com. The website had over 10 million page views in the week that the film released. And the average time spent on the site per person was an unprecedented 16 minutes. It also ensured that the film got a wide release and netted over $250 million worldwide.
District 9 Sweeps Social Media
A more recent example of a successful online viral marketing campaign is the science fiction film District 9. The film, directed by South African Neill Blomkamp, widely advertised over social networks, both locally and abroad. Its marketing strategy took a clever approach of subverting racial segregation laws and replacing them with human-alien divisions. The online component involved videos of the fictional Multi-National United (MNU) corporation as well as other staged videos like protests and news reports.
Fans became very engaged with the content and it spread virally from District 9’s website to social accounts. The real effect appears after the opening of the film. Viewers enjoyed the film so much that they commented widely online to encourage others to view it. The film even became a trending topic (one of the most-mentioned topics) on Twitter for several days afterwards. In the end, the movie far eclipsed its humble $30 million budget and became a worldwide phenomenon.